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Permanent Residency Canada

Canadian Immigration Addresses High Level of Errors in Processing Applications

Errors attributed to casual employees

According to a piece in the Toronto Star, internal government records have exposed a significant proportion of errors in the processing of Canadian immigration applications for permanent residence, temporary work permits, and refugee status.

Quality management reviews

The Star cites a series of quality management reviews of various processing centres. The reviews identify inaccuracies in the use of form letters, the provision of timelines, and the tracking of misplaced documents. These and other problems can potentially delay application procedures, creating backlogs and even jeopardizing applicants’ chances of immigrating to Canada.

One review assessed 996 permanent residence application files that were processed at a centre in Vegreville, Alberta between November 1 and December 6, 2014. Out of 617 request letters sent to applicants, the quality management team found the following errors:

  • 6% were deemed unprofessional or used incorrect form letter templates
  • 13% failed to address missing items
  • 23% lacked a complete timeline or neglected to specify the consequences for failing to respond to the request

426 files were subject to a second review, and 149 of them still had pending decisions on account of earlier errors. Other management reviews similarly report a high incidence of error.

In the best-case scenarios, applicants themselves spotted and corrected the mistakes, and successfully reapplied before the errors could damage their immigration chances. But other applicants have not been as lucky, submitting their applications to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) while unaware of anything amiss.

Part-time employees

Steve McCuaig, president of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union which represents a large number of CIC staff, attributes the high error rate to the increased employment of casual or part-time workers. These employees sometimes lack sufficient training and experience to execute their tasks to necessary standards.

“Since the Harper government came into power, Citizenship and Immigration has seen too many cuts and lost many qualified employees,” McCuaig told the Star.

CIC states that more than one fourth of the employees at the centralized processing centre are casual workers or students, hired to replace better trained permanent staff members.

However, as CIC representative Nancy Chan clarified in an email to the Star last month, “The vast majority of these employees perform administrative support functions of application processing across all citizenship and immigration business lines and are not direct decision-makers.”

Reliance on casual employees may be starting to decrease somewhat. Chan states that only 10% of the staff at the Vegreville processing centre (22 out of 226 employees) were casual workers when the review was held, and now only two out of the 209 current employees are contracted on a casual basis.

If your application has been delayed due to processing errors, you should seek the expertise of a Canadian immigration lawyer by contacting First Immigration Law Firm toll-free in North America at 1-855-360-4333.